MAJORITY AND MINORITY INFLUENCE 5
Majorityand Minority Influence
Psychologistshave argued that when individuals are making decisions, theirattitudes usually depend on social influence (Fiskeet al., 2010).Social influence on attitudes can be exerted by either minorities ormajorities. In this assignment, minority and majority influenceswould be discussed and how the psychological processes involved inthe two influences compare and contrast would also be discussed.
Accordingto Hogg & Tindale (2007), social influence describes the way inwhich the conduct of one person impacts the behavior of anotherindividual this may occur in different forms such as conformity,peer pressure, and persuasion among others. Majority influencedescribes a kind of social influence, where the behavior of a vastnumber of individuals influences the behavior of a meager group ofindividuals. It is usually perceived as the change of a person’sbehavior emanating from the influence of others (Hogg & Tindale,2007). This influence normally leads to conformity. A conformityexperiment was conducted by Asch (1951). From his experiment, Asch(1951) found out that individuals conform because of informationaland normative influence. According to Paulus (2015), normativeinfluence is where people conform to a group because they desire tofit in the group. On the other hand, informational influence is whereindividuals conform to a group since they tend to believe that thegroup is well informed compared to them. Alternatively, minorityinfluence describes a kind of social influence that can be attributedto few individuals having a consistent position, which reflects theposition of the minority group. In his blue-green studies, Moscovici(1969) researched behavioral styles based on minority influence andindicated that a consistent minority emerged to be more successful inchanging the perceptions of the majority compared to inconsistentminority. Thus, in his study, Moscovici (1969) showed consistency asthe most significant element that can influence the majority.
Whilein majority influence there is compliance, in minority influencethere is conversion. Compliance implies that individuals have toagree and conform to the rules and perspectives of the larger grouppublicly, but reject them privately. On the other hand, conversion inminority influence concerns the manner in which the minorityinfluences the viewpoints of the majority. In minority influenceindividuals have to accept the viewpoints of the minority publicly aswell as privately. Minority influence can result in conversionthrough ways such as flexibility and consistency (Cardwell &Flanagan, 2005).
Inboth minority and majority influence, the ability to influence theperceptions of others is a key process (Paulus, 2015). Nevertheless,despite the ability to influence the perception of others being a keyprocess in both forms of social influence, the time taken toinfluence the perception of others is different (Paulus, 2015). Inmajority influence, the ability to influence the perception of othersis usually from the start however, in minority influence, theability to influence the perception of others has to take some time.
Inaddition, both forms of social influence affect the manner in whichpeople think. In majority influence, people have a limited way ofthinking because there is no room to think beyond the perception ofthe majority (Hogg & Tindale, 2007). Nevertheless, in minorityinfluence, people are open to having other thoughts.
Inconclusion, majority and minority influence compare in that influenceis a key aspect in both, but takes a lot of time in minorityinfluence compared to majority influence. Also, consistency is aprimary element in influencing perspectives taken by the majority.However, in majority influence, conformity with the group isdetermined by informational and normative influence.
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Fiske,S. T., Gilbert, D. T., Lindzey, G., & Jongsma, A. E. (2010).Handbookof social psychology.Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
Hogg,M., & Tindale, S. (2007). BlackwellHandbook of Social Psychology: Group Processes.Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.
Mugny,G., & Pérez, J. A. (1991). Thesocial psychology of minority influence.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Paulus,B.P. (2015). Psychologyof Group Influence: Second Edition.New York: Psychology Press.